Hopeless Wanderer

I lost an election and my business all within one week’s time. It’s difficult at a time like this not to become overwhelmed with the darkest parts of myself; the parts that have fed the self-doubt, the fear, the hesitancy. It’s difficult to not give in to feeling like those who doubted me were right. Maybe they were right to doubt, to question my abilities, and to think I couldn’t do it? Because in the end, I didn’t. I didn’t do it. To shoot for the stars and then miss so catastrophically? Who was I to even think I could possibly achieve and balance so much in the first place?

And so I’ve tried doing what you’re supposed to do. Rally some perspective. Read inspirational materials. Remind myself of the early ‘failures’ of some of the most successful people in the world. Say things like, ‘well at least I have my family and my health.’ All worthwhile, truly. But that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t still hurt. That the darkness doesn’t still find its place, and that the struggle to talk down the demons doesn’t become all that more difficult. Demons are so fucking smug when you fall on your face.

I know that this too shall pass. That this discomfort really is what creates success in the long run. That no matter how bad I wanted ‘it,’ ‘it’ wasn’t what was right for me right now. That the Universe, in all its infinite wisdom, sees something different out there for me. Sigh.

In the meantime, I’ve tried to be honest with myself… even when it hurts the most. What were the mistakes I made, and what didn’t I see that I might better see now? This of course, IS THE REAL SHIT WORK. Maybe I’m not a massive failure, but that doesn’t also mean that I didn’t mess up. That I shouldn’t accept the responsibility for some of the poor decisions I made, or even accept responsibility for, I don’t know… maybe trying to do too much? This gets super tricky of course, because sometimes it really is just a matter of luck, or timing, or ‘not knowing until you try.’ The fine art of learning from your mistakes without completely shedding all culpability, but also not taking on so much responsibility that you’re immobile with self-loathing.

When it comes to owning a business, this is infinitely more challenging because it’s more complicated than ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ decisions. I think what I’ve been struggling with the most is that I didn’t have to close my business; I’ve chosen to. Granted, my back is absolutely up against the wall here. But everything I’ve learned and know about business is that those who succeed are those who don’t quit when it gets uncomfortable. It’s just that it’s been super uncomfortable for awhile. And there is also fine line between being uncomfortable and being stupid (especially when you are raising three children). The crux is that fate may actually reward both. And it also may not.

So the same demons who were telling me I couldn’t do it, are also the same demons that are now admonishing me for not sticking with it (even if it means severely compromising myself even more financially than I already have; because isn’t that what TRUE entrepreneurs DO?). This all comes after a series of other ‘failures’ in my life (including a failed marriage), and I’m left wondering about all of my wandering. Am I really a victim of circumstance, or just restless? And how do I truly begin to weed out what I can learn from this, and where I go from here? Also, did I maybe watch too much ‘Sex and the City’ in my twenties that is causing me to write like this?

Everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) is asking me what comes next. I honestly don’t know. Trying to move forward under the weight of staggering self-doubt, self-criticism, and fear is what I feel like I’ve been doing for a lifetime already. I’m tired. Not ‘I’m ready to give up’ tired, but ‘I just really want to take a break’ tired. I’m working on being more methodical and less impulsive. Trying to focus on one thing at a time, instead of being incessantly scattered and spread thin. Figuring out a five-year game plan, instead of making it month-to-month. Hoping to truly capitalize on all of the hopeless wandering, so I can really figure out where and what I’m supposed to be doing right now. Sitting in the dark with my demons is quite literally what I have been running from for a really really really long time. But maybe being so tired and sad is the Universe’s way of helping me learn something from finally being still.

Renee Duxler